It’s time to say good riddance to 2020, and focus on some beautiful new hotels in Europe that could hopefully feature high on clients’ wonder list for 2021.
Britain may have left the EU, but there are plenty of reasons we’re all still in love with Europe – and for 2021, these could include these wonderful new hotels.
From elegant options in neighbouring Ireland, to hip new openings over in Serbia and restoration projects in Romania, we have picked out some interesting gems that should hopefully get clients thinking about their 2021 travel plans.
New for the spring will be Carton House (pictured above), a Fairmont-managed hotel, half an hour from Dublin with 169 rooms. Guests will love the vast 1,100-acre estate, but the centrepiece is The House, which features 18 suites and staterooms named after characters associated with the history of Carton House, while two world-class 18-hole championship golf courses are designed by Colin Montgomerie and Mark O’Meara.
Another one to keep on the radar is 42-bedroom Cashel Palace Hotel, where a huge restoration and renovation project is expected to near its end by the middle of the year. Built in 1734 and steeped in history, this former archbishop’s grand country house will now host the Bishop’s Buttery Restaurant and new additions will include a ballroom and spa overlooking the gardens.
Initially soft-launched in 2020, but hoping for a full season in 2021, is Maison Ila (pictured) created by Denise Leicester, founder of organic skincare and spa brand Ila. Also known as also known as Le Tresor, it is set in the heart of the Aude countryside (2.5 hours from Toulouse), and the main house has five bedrooms, communal dining space, treatment room and yoga and sound-healing studio, while a self-contained cottage also has two bedrooms.
One of many projects worldwide that delayed its opening until the (hopefully) brighter times of 2021 is Airelles Chateau de Versailles, Le Grand Controle, which – as the name suggests – sits right at the heart of the Chateau de Versailles, featuring 14 rooms and suites, Alain Ducasse restaurant, spa by Valmont and indoor pool. One of the hot spots of the summer will be Villa Sainte-Anne, sitting opposite Oetker Collection’s Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc. After a two-year refurbishment, guests will love the five en-suite bedrooms, spa, cascading gardens with pool and full team ready to take care of every whim.
And for deluxe skiers, one new option is Ultima Courchevel, which combines 13 chalets with two spas, lavish restaurant and direct access to the slopes of the Tarentaise Valley, located just in between 1850 and 1650.
Paris will of course also come back to life for international travellers eventually, and Bvlgari will be arriving in the city in the summer with a 76-room hotel. Bvlgari Hotel Paris is on Avenue George V, between the Champs Elysees and the Avenue Montaigne, and will have a spa with 25-metre pool, a Bvlgari restaurant and courtyard garden bar. As is often the case, Bvlgari will collaborate with Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel for the design, along with Parisian architects Valode & Pistre. Another hotel to have in your address book will be a new addition to Maisons Pariente’s chic collection of properties, Le Grand Mazarin, which is set to open towards the end of the year.
Oetker Collection will be expanding its European footprint even further with the arrival of The Woodward, a 26-suite hotel on the shores of Lake Geneva transformed by the legendary Pierre-Yves Rochon, with gastronomy driven by Joel Robuchon and Alain Verzeroli – his cuisine is pictured here – and a spa by Guerlain.
And the fresh air and charming chocolate-box scenery of the Swiss Alps is about to be added to by the beautiful Kempinski Palace Engelberg, which opens its 129 rooms and suites and top-floor infinity pool in the spring, 90 minutes from Zurich.
We can almost guarantee there’ll be one place on all luxury agents’ and operators’ lips in 2021: Reschio (pictured above). This place has had incredible farmhouses for rent for a while, but the 36-room Hotel Castello di Reschio makes its elegant debut in April, giving wider access to the 700-acre ancient pastoral estate in the Umbrian hills.
Also keep an eye on the two villas at Borgo Pignano in Tuscany: one is the completely new two-bedroom Villa La Lavandaia, and the other is a refurbishment of Villa La Fonte, available to book from spring. The hotel has an “in-house herbalist”, who gathers wild and cultivated herbs for use in the kitchen and guest bathroom products and spa, and thanks to a long-established relationship with The Royal Drawing School in London, an alumnus is always on-site and available for painting classes for guests.
Staying in Tuscany, the family behind Castello di Vicarello is spreading its wings – but out to the country’s fashion capital with the launch of Vico Milan in March, a seven-bedroom guesthouse just a short walk to the Duomo and the fashionable district of Via Tortona.
Some interesting things are happening elsewhere in Italy as well of course – including the arrival of Six Senses Rome later in 2021. Set around the Palazzo Salviati Cesi Mellini on Piazza di San Marcello, it will have 95 rooms and suites, a spa with Roman baths, Alchemy Bar for learning about the power of local herbs and plants and an Earth Lab, which will focus on sustainable living, as well as a rooftop terrace. Meanwhile, the InterContinental Rome Ambasciatori Palace also opens in Q4 on the iconic Via Veneto, with 160 rooms, rooftop, restaurant, bar and a spa.
Another Italian newcomer is Casa di Langa in Piedmont (part of Preferred Hotels & Resorts), which will be launching in the spring. This 39-room sustainable luxury retreat sits next to the vineyard landscapes of Le Langhe, a Unesco World Heritage site, and its laudable green practices include a commitment to carbon neutrality and the use of 100% recycled water for irrigation.
And finally, two new openings in Sicily are bound to get attention – from Rocco Forte Hotels comes Villa Igiea, an iconic palazzo at the foot of Mount Pellegrino overlooking the gulf of Palermo, set to open in May, and from Four Seasons, the brand’s management and renovation of San Domenico Palace in Taormina should come to fruition by the summer, including a new beach club, spa and restaurant, as well as retaining the Michelin-starred restaurant, Principe Cerami.
Madrid will be the Spanish city on every chic traveller’s lips, with the debut of Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid (pictured), now accepting reservations from 15 March. After a three-year renovation, the hotel will open with 153 rooms, and five restaurants and bars conceptualised by Spanish chef Quique Dacosta.
Ikos Andalusia was completed this year, but inevitably delayed its full opening until spring: this new €180 million all-inclusive 17-acre resort has 411 rooms and a la carte menus curated by Michelin-starred chefs, a choice of 300 wine labels, beach waiter service, complimentary kids’ clubs and 24-hour room service included.
Also in Andalucia, Accor’s lifestyle brand SO has been working on a refurbishment of the former Almenara Hotel in Sotogrande, launching this spring as SO Sotogrande Resort & Spa with 151 stylish rooms, five pools and nine dining spaces; three top golf courses are within a four-kilometre radius.
Meanwhile over on the islands, in Ibiza, there are two new options: Oku Ibiza, which is set to open on 30 April in the south west with 189 rooms and one of the largest pools on the island, as well as a four-bedroom villa. Then the wellbeing wonder and sustainability kudos of Six Senses Ibiza arrives in the second half of the year on the northern tip of the island, set across 20 acres with 134 rooms and suites and a range of villas.
And over on another Balearic island, the 32-room Can Ferrereta will launch in March in the Majorcan village of Santanyi (it will make for an impressive combination with its boutique sister hotel in Palma, San Francesc), while the larger 304-suite Zafiro Palace Andratx launches in the village of Camp de Mar, close to a Blue Flag beach and the ancient town of Andratx, in the spring too.
The British love affair with Portugal is bound to be rekindled in 2021, and there will be a beautiful new hotel to sample by May.
A project from Campbell Gray Hotels, the Palacio de Canavezes is being created within a 1900s palace visited by the Portuguese royal family and renowned for its thermal waters. Found half an hour form Porto, the hotel will have 52 rooms and suites all overlooking the Tamega river on the edge of the Douro valley, a terrace restaurant, indoor pool and thermal spa centre built into the rock face, plus there’s a jetty for watersports.
Another hotel we should have been able to feast our eyes on this year, Iniala Harbour House & Residences will finally make its debut in April. Spread across four townhouses and ancient vaults dating back to the 1600s, Iniala is set on the historic St Barbara Bastions and has 23 rooms and suites.
It’s driven by Manchester-born former trader, now entrepreneur and philanthropist, Mark Weingard, who has thrown everything into creating a luxury icon for the island, rooted in design, heritage, service and art. With Valletta’s role as a Unesco World Heritage Site, the hotel will offer fascinating underground tours of the city, and there’s also exclusive use of Spirit Of Iniala, the hotel’s Rivarama 44 luxury boat.
You can’t go wrong with a Domes resort, with low-key luxury style in great locations; now there’s a new one in the portfolio for 2021, Domes of Corfu (pictured), which will be featured by several operators, including Olympic Holidays. Previously the LTI Grand Corfu, but reopening in May as part of the Domes Resorts family, the 214-room hotel on Glyfada beach has undergone a complete renovation including a great new concept, Core Spianada, an open-air mix of pop-up shops, street-style dining, cool food trucks and contemporary art.
In May, Rhodes gets to boast about a new adults-only addition, Lindos Grand Resort & Spa, with its 120 rooms, some with private infinity pools, and a spa offering vegan-friendly, natural treatments.
And lastly, OKU Kos, which soft-launched in July but gets a full opening this April, is a village-style beach hideaway with 100 rooms, suites and villas on the popular island.
Anyone bored of the usual European cities could be pointed towards Serbia’s capital, Belgrade, on the confluence of the Danube and Sava rivers, which split the city into the traditionally more attractive Old Belgrade, and New Belgrade.
And the newcomer in town to recommend is Hotel Indigo, opening in Q2 and situated above stylish luxury retail stores, with just 44 guest rooms that take their design inspiration from the local neighbourhood of Doreol.
Finally making its debut after years of tempting us will be One&Only Portonovi, opening in Boka Bay on 21 March in what’s being pitched as Montenegro’s “Adriatic Riviera”. It also marks One&Only’s first hotel in Europe, and this year-round, 113-room resort will also boast 11 pools, access to a private beach and a Chenot Espace facility, offering pioneering wellness treatments, as well as being surrounded by a high-end marina.
It’s been a while coming, but Transylvania is edging onto the experiential luxury map; already known for its beautiful scenery and rural appeal, it now has Bethlen Estates Transylvania.
Come the spring, the Bethlen family will be revealing the first fruits of an almost 13-year project of acquiring tumbledown buildings in their ancestral village of Cris, with the aim of restoring them into havens of tranquillity to attract design-savvy travellers.
The purposeful project kicks off with three immaculately restored houses accommodating up to 20 guests between them, and a host of experiences to get guests deep into Transylvania, with its historic citadels, untamed countryside and spectacular wildlife, often referred to as Europe’s last true wilderness.